$25 million University City school property sale nearing close

 Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

With a key City Council member on board, Philadelphia is moving forward on a plan to sell the University City High School property.

Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell gave her blessing to the bill allowing a zoning change to facilitate the sale after learning of a compromise between the developer and neighborhood groups on a series of issues — including dimensions of the development.

“The compromise worked out is that community groups gave into the height, it’s still 65 feet, and the university and Wexford gave into the height on Warren Street,” she said Thursday. “So they switched issues, made a compromise, and were able to get it passed out. We are very, very grateful.”

Wexford Development is buying the property to build facilities for Drexel University.

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Michael Jones, president of the Powelton Village Civic Association, said the compromise was key after hours of talking and negotiating about neighborhood objections to aspects of the plan for new office space, a school and residences on the 10-acre site at 36th and Filbert streets.o

“We both got some of what we wanted, and we gave a bunch of stuff,” Jones said. “We were really making sure in the context of what mattered most to us we had some chance to review things.”

The property’s sale price is $25 million, which is critical to balancing this year’s school district budget.

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